Prostate Cancer Treatment at UCLA
Treating Prostate Cancer
If you find out you have prostate cancer, discuss your treatment options with a radiation oncologist, a cancer doctor who specializes in treating disease with radiation therapy, and a urologist, a surgeon who specializes in the urinary tract. Options for prostate cancer include:
- Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy
- External beam radiation therapy
- Prostate brachytherapy
- Hormone therapy
Sometimes a combination of treatments is best for your cancer, such as surgery followed by external beam radiation. Some men can safely postpone treatment and watch it closely until treatment is needed. This is called watchful waiting.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
External beam radiation therapy involves a series of daily treatments to accurately deliver radiation to the prostate. Successful treatment requires tight coordination between the physicians, medical physicists, and therapists. UCLA medical physicists/dosimetry provide Quality Assurance testing on each treatment plan of the highest quality. This team maintains the performance of the treatment machines and checks each IMRT plan PRIOR to the actual treatment starting on any patient. All of this is done "behind the scenes" by this well-known and talented group of professionals helping to make the treatment process as safe and smooth as possible.
Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) for Prostate Cancer
The UCLA Prostate SBRT program is led by Dr. Amar Kishan and Dr. Michael Steinberg, recognized leaders in the field. SBRT is a technique that uses 5 fractions (treatments) of highly focused radiation on a special treatment machine that allows for maximal accuracy. UCLA physicians were some of the first in the world to have pioneered the use of stereotactic radiosurgery techniques for prostate cancer.
The brachytherapy division at UCLA is a specialized team and capable of performing complicated implants not available elsewhere. The team currently offers a CT-image guided approach to placement of catheters to maximize safety and precision.
Prostate brachytherapy involves treating the cancer by inserting radioactive sources directly into the gland.
- High-dose-rate prostate implants deliver radiation to the prostate with a few treatments using a single small radioactive iridium source on the end of a computer controlled flexible wire. The radiation is delivered through narrow tubes called catheters inserted into the prostate by your radiation oncologist.
Depending on your cancer, prostate brachytherapy may be combined with external beam radiation therapy.
Depending on your cancer, you may benefit from adding hormone therapy to radiation.
- Works by starving the tumor of the male hormones it needs to grow. This may make your radiation therapy treatments work better.
- May be used together with radiation therapy or before radiation to shrink the tumor.